On Oct. 21, Whitman was awarded a Public Facility Grant of $15,000 from the United States Tennis Association (USTA). The grant goes supports the expansion of the tennis courts that occurred this past summer.
Having six courts vastly improves match and practice experience, allowing for more flexibility in planning practices, classes and matches. Whitman is home to two nationally competitive tennis teams, an active club tennis team, frequent intermural participation and tennis classes, and many groups in the Walla Walla community also utilize the tennis facilities when they are available.
“I can't overstate what the new courts mean to our tennis teams,” head coach of the women’s tennis team John Hein said. “With 6 courts we are able to bid to host NCAA championship regional rounds.”
He noted that he recently walked by the courts on a weekend to find players from both the men’s and women’s teams, as well as members of Whitman’s club tennis team playing alongside members of the community and other students.
“The USTA grant reflects what our facilities offer not just the student body and Whitman community but also the Walla Walla community,” Hein said. “More courts allow classes more space, as well as the increased opportunity for outdoor play by different groups on campus.”
According to Hein, the USTA grant required the College to paint lines on the court for youth under 10. As a result, the courts provide an area for tennis clinics, youth camps, and tournaments for any age.
“Plus, the new courts will be a big help when recruiting,” added Jeff Northam, head coach of the men’s tennis team. “We have one of the most beautiful courts and locations in the nation.”
In addition to the USTA grant, the expansion of the outdoor tennis courts was made possible by a large gift from Lois and Earl Dusenbery and generous donations from several alumni and friends of the College.